Unsolicited commercial communications

This article will provide information on what unsolicited commercial communications are, as well as the fines and penalties for sending unsolicited commercial communications and how individuals can exercise their rights.

Definition

The Electronic Commerce Act defines commercial communications, which are advertising or other communications directly or indirectly representing the goods, services, or reputation of a person engaged in a commercial or craft activity or exercising a regulated profession. In the event that these messages are sent by e-mail without the prior consent of the recipient, the sender is obliged to ensure the clear and unambiguous recognition of the commercial message as unsolicited upon receipt by the recipient. Therefore, unsolicited commercial communications should be identified as such in a clear and unambiguous manner by indicating that they are commercial. The requirement applies when the unsolicited commercial communication is sent without the recipient’s prior consent.

Recipients of unsolicited commercial communications

It is forbidden to send unsolicited commercial communications to individuals without their prior consent. Therefore, if the addressee of the unsolicited commercial communications is a natural person, it is necessary for the latter to have given his explicit consent in advance to receive such communications, and the sender should be able to prove that the individual has given his consent. With regard to legal entities, it is important to note that the Consumer Protection Commission (CPC) maintains an electronic register of e-mail addresses of legal entities that do not wish to receive unsolicited commercial communications. Therefore, unsolicited commercial communications may be sent only to those legal persons whose e-mail addresses are not entered in the register referred to in the preceding sentence. It is forbidden to send unsolicited commercial messages to e-mail addresses that are entered in the register. The electronic register kept by the CPC is available on the CPC website at https://kzp.bg/proverka-na-e-adres. In this way, you can check to which email addresses you can’t send unsolicited commercial messages.

What are the fines and penalties for sending unsolicited commercial communications and how can individuals exercise their rights?

Sending unsolicited commercial communications to an individual is considered a violation of the Personal Data Protection Act, as well as a violation of Regulation (EU) 679/2016 and a violation of the Electronic Commerce Act. According to the provisions of the Personal Data Protection Act, the violator is fined up to BGN 5,000. If the violation is committed repeatedly, a fine or pecuniary sanction shall be imposed in the amount of twice the amount initially imposed. The individual may seek protection his/her protection under the Personal Data Protection Act by filing a complaint with the Commission for Personal Data Protection. Of course, a complaint may not be lodged, as the individual has the right to object at any time to the processing of his personal data for the purposes of direct marketing. When the individual objects to processing for the purposes of direct marketing, the processing of personal data for these purposes shall be terminated. It is important to note that in addition to the right to lodge a complaint with the Commission for Personal Data Protection, an individual who has received an unsolicited commercial communication is also entitled to effective judicial protection by bringing an action. In addition, if, as a result of receiving unsolicited commercial communications, the natural person has suffered material or non-material damage, the latter is entitled to receive compensation from the infringer for the damage caused. Legal proceedings in connection with the exercise of the right to compensation shall be brought before the courts of the Member State in which the offender is established.

According to the provisions of the Electronic Commerce Act, if the infringer is a natural person, he is punished by a fine in the amount of BGN 250 to 1500, if the act does not constitute a crime. In case of repeated violation, the fine for the individual is in the amount of BGN 500 to 2,500. In case the infringer is a legal entity or a sole trader, the property sanction is in the amount of BGN 500 to 2000. In case of repeated violation, the fine for the legal entity or the sole trader is in the amount of BGN 1,000 to 4,000. The protection under the Electronic Commerce Act can be realized by filing a complaint to the Consumer Protection Commission.

In case you need advice on unsolicited commercial communications, do not hesitate to contact us.

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Legal Disclaimer: This material prepared by Krasimira Kadieva aims to provide more information about unsolicited commercial communications. It does not constitute a legal opinion and cannot be interpreted as individual consultation on any concrete facts or circumstances. The advice of a specialist should be obtained for specific questions and situations. For more information on the above-mentioned issues and individual consultations, please contact Krasimira Kadieva at 00359 882 308 670 or make an inquiry using the contact form of this website.